Author Topic: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer  (Read 489 times)

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Offline shnozzola

NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« on: April 05, 2013, 05:14:32 PM »

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WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA is planning for a robotic spaceship to lasso a small asteroid and park it near the moon for astronauts to explore, a top senator revealed Friday.

The robotic ship would capture the 500-ton 25-foot asteroid in 2019. Then using an Orion space capsule, now being developed, a crew of about four astronauts would nuzzle up next to the rock in 2021 for spacewalking exploration, according to a government document obtained by The Associated Press.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the plan would speed up by four years the existing mission to land astronauts on an asteroid by bringing the space rock closer to Earth.

Nelson, who is chairman of the Senate science and space subcommittee, said Friday that President Barack Obama is putting $100 million in planning money for the accelerated asteroid mission in the 2014 budget that comes out next week. The money would be used to find the right small asteroid.

"It really is a clever concept," Nelson said in a press conference in Orlando. "Go find your ideal candidate for an asteroid. Go get it robotically and bring it back."

While there are thousands of asteroids that size out there, finding the right one that comes by Earth at just the right time to be captured will not be easy, said Donald Yeomans, who heads NASA's Near Earth Object program that monitors close-by asteroids. He said once a suitable rock is found it would be captured with the space equivalent of "a baggie with a drawstring. You bag it. You attach the solar propulsion module to de-spin it and bring it back to where you want it."

Yeomans said a 25-foot asteroid is no threat to Earth because it would burn up should it inadvertently enter Earth's atmosphere. The mission as Nelson described is perfectly safe, he said.

Nelson said this would help NASA develop the capability to nudge away a dangerous asteroid if one headed to Earth in the future. It also would be training for a future mission to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s, he said.

The government document said the mission, with no price tag at the moment, would inspire because it "will send humans farther than they have ever been before."

http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20130405/US-SCI--Capturing.Asteroid/
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Offline Nick

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 06:14:01 PM »
Gee, what could go wrong with that? ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline shnozzola

Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 06:22:09 PM »
Yeah, Bruce Willis is gettin old.


2013 IAA Planetary Defense Conference (April 15-19) :

http://www.iaaconferences.org/pdc2013/?q=ipc
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 07:31:53 PM »
500 tons isn't a very big rock, in terms of asteroids.  There really is little that could go wrong.
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Offline Vinz Clortho

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 10:54:11 PM »
It looks like the asteroid mission may be scrubbed. The House Science space subcommittee has included a stipulation in the NASA Authorization Act of 2013 that would ban the asteroid mission in favor of lunar exploration:

"On the same day that another House panel approved the smallest NASA budget since 2007, the House Science space subcommittee approved — on a straight party-line vote—  a two-year NASA authorization bill that would ban a proposed asteroid capture mission, cut back NASA’s Earth science program and mandate more crewed exploration of lunar space in preparation for an expedition to Mars."

Source: http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/36205nasa-authorization-act-approved-by-house-panel-on-party-line-vote#.Uei2B6xt6rs
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 10:58:16 PM by Vinz Clortho »

Offline wright

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 11:55:28 PM »
Welcome, Vinz.

A pity that particular mission might not get funding, but interest in investigating (and potentially exploiting) near-Earth asteroids is rising. And even a small rock can make a big impression when it burns up over inhabited areas:http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24489.0.html
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Offline Vinz Clortho

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 07:43:27 AM »
The interest in NEOs is rising for sure. I hope that the B612 Foundation is able to raise the money to launch the Sentinel telescope in a few years; it would definitely make our NEO detection system a lot more robust when teamed with optical telescopes on the ground. While it appears we are going to lose the asteroid capture mission, the joint Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA) is targeting the binary asteroid system Didymos in 2022 in an effort to learn more about inducing changes in an asteroid's orbit.

Here is a link to the press release from the European Space Agency, if anyone is interested: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/GSP/Asteroid_impact_mission_targets_Didymos

Offline wright

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2013, 09:55:38 AM »
^^^Thanks for the link, Vinz. The Didymos mission seems like a worthwhile one.

Planetary Resources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_Resources has plans to put a system of survey instruments in orbit. The main goal is to identify potential mining targets like Amun 3554 (http://mashable.com/2012/04/26/planetary-resources-asteroid-mining-trillions/), but such satellites could be used to spot potential interceptors, too.
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Offline Vinz Clortho

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 10:36:05 AM »
That is a very interesting article wright. I was kind of skeptical as to the economic feasibility of asteroid mining, but an estimated $20 trillion payday would definitely be enough to offset the costs of building the robotic probes, as well as the launch and other costs such as refining the ore once it is returned to Earth. It will be interesting to see if Planetary Resources could pull it off. I do think the concept of mining asteroids and other planetary bodies does pose some unique challenges though, mainly in the realms of claims and competition. That may be a discussion for another thread though.

Offline wright

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Re: NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 02:12:33 PM »
That is a very interesting article wright. I was kind of skeptical as to the economic feasibility of asteroid mining, but an estimated $20 trillion payday would definitely be enough to offset the costs of building the robotic probes, as well as the launch and other costs such as refining the ore once it is returned to Earth. It will be interesting to see if Planetary Resources could pull it off.

They seem to be going about it realistically, planning infrastructure in practical stages. That article does gloss over the potential problems, though.

I do think the concept of mining asteroids and other planetary bodies does pose some unique challenges though, mainly in the realms of claims and competition. That may be a discussion for another thread though.

Definitely some legal issues to be resolved. Economic too: once you have an asteroid with trillions of dollars in platinum within reach, what does that do to the metals market? I know next to nothing about economics, but there could be some unpleasant ripples.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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